Saturday, July 22, 2006

Burgers and Soup!

Well, some of us worked on friday. But Jacqui and I had Mark over, while Michael stood by the side of the road, tsk-ed and cursed the makers of his car. So we had three.

First up was Tom Lehmann's Fast Food Franchise. I put him among the Great American Game Designers (geeklist / blog) . FFF "makes monopoly interesting." [And as someone whose daughter recently discovered Monopoly, I know of what I speak.] The outer board is similar, but when you buy a space, you pick the company to found on it, and place a franchise on the inner board. Instead of houses, you can expand franchises. But if you manage to link two market spaces on the inner board, then each franchise counts as each market. In Monopoly, that would be like being able to own Park Place, Baltic, and Kentucky and then arranging it so that houses you built went on all three. Each company hasa different number of markets, franchises, costs, incomes and advertising (which forces players landing on it to "Go directly to Chicken!" Adding to the fun are the fact that three of the corners give players decisions to be made when the pass over them. One lets you draw or play a strategy card. One lets you build a franchise anywhere, and Start gives you income (per franchise, counting each market seperately). So that Ice Cream company will never bankrupt anyone (since income is only $4,000 per franchise) but the it's cheap, so the franchising fees will start to add up. In addition to bankrupting everyone, you can win by amassing a worth of One Million Dollars, so the game rarely drags.

Mark quickly opened Burger Brothers, an slightly expensive chain (Markets cost $50k, Franchises $30k) with good income. Jacqui and I, drawn like moths to an open-grilled flame, couldn't resist the lure and soon enough Mark had linked his two markets into a connected chain. Then a 3rd market. Then a 4th, 5th, and sixth. Jacqui and I quickly bankrupted.

After that we broke out Primordial Soup Now we weren't eating branded products, just amino acids. Your ameobas drift around, eating (and exreting) and acquiring genes to evolve. I hadn't played this with three, it's brutal. A lone ameoba can only eat once before a square is uninhabitable. Ameobas need certain combinations of cubes, but can never eat their own color. In a four player game, an ameoba gets two turns before they 'deplete' a square.

Like any red-mitochondrian ameoba, I went for junk food & promiscuity, snapping up substitution (eat more food, but less variety) and division rate (kick out the ameokids faster). This got me an early lead, but Mark played the predator card (Struggle for Survival) and got primordial on my ass. I picked up the other copy of Struggle to retaliate. At this point, Jacqui's movement based strategy (Streamlining to move for free and Movement Two to avoid having to roll for direction) blended nicely with "Escape" (run away from attacks). With two predators who could chomp each other, but not her, she snuck in a point ahead of Mark (I was two points behind).


At 5:51 PM, July 22, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Nice report. Fridays are usually my night out with my wife. So it's usually hard for me to make it.


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